The nasty summers of Eastern India are here again. The worst part of this tremendous season is that it is extremely humid and drain out all the energy in you. The summers of the Northern parts of India can be termed more extreme because the mercury touches greater hights there but unless you are directly under the sun, it seldom hurts you. The summer of the East is not so polite. The extreme humidity which generally hovers above 90% makes you continuously sweat even if you are not exposed to the sun. It causes severe dehydration and loss of energy which is absolutely not acceptable for a tourist who has fixed times and schedule.
It might cause you to think twice before planning a trip to these parts of the country but if you follow few simple tricks – you will be absolutely fine. Even if you have grown up in a moderate or cooler climate, these tips from a local can keep you running and enjoying despite the heat of the summer.
- What You Wear?
Traditionally India has made its fashion solution to the extreme climatic conditions. Khadi (It is different from cotton) is a material indigenously developed in India which is ideal for both summers and winters of the country. Khadi is a material that maintains a normal temperature in the inner space and thus keeps the body at comfort. Cotton, on the other hand, is also handy because it soaks the sweat quickly and evaporates it keeping the body cool. Both Khadi and Cotton dresses are advisable and if you are heading to this area, make a good stock of these dresses.
- How You Wear?
It is suggested to keep the full body covered as much as possible and avoid direct exposure to the sun. Since the body tends to sweat a lot during the day, tight clothes should be avoided. Light coloured loose dressed should be a good choice. Try to a get a hat with a wide brim which will cover your entire face, backhead and neck. The ideal dresses are Frocks, palazzo, Patiala pants, Kurtis, loose tops for women and Kurta, Payjama, Cotton trousers, full sleeve cotton shirts for men.
- What You Drink?
To keep the body hydrated, drinks are the best companion. There may be plenty of aerated drinks available, but the few those works perfectly can be found in almost every street corner. Sugarcane Juice vendors whom you can spot at every here and there rolling the giant wheels pressing long sticks of sugarcane are your true brothers for this season. In rs.10/- you can have a glass full of juice which is amazingly tasty and will keep you going for next few hours. As a practice, you should have a glass of this at least twice a day. The other magical drink is the tender coconut water. This is also widely available on the streets, though a bit costlier than sugarcane juice, and can be excellent in keeping your body temperature under control.
- What you Eat?
It is important to eat like the locals to beat the heat but it is not always possible. It is really tough to completely fall in love with the local cuisine and change of taste is also necessary. Sometimes, even the local foods can be disastrous. Adding a few items to the menu can be helpful in coping with the summer. Yoghurt or Curd (Here people do not discriminate between these two) are essential. It can be found in almost all eatery and even in sweetmeat shops. Love for the sweetness among Bengalis have given birth to sweet versions of curd- those can be good for your taste buds but not good in dealing with the temperature. Ask for the sour version and have it daily – at least during lunch if not more. Eat seasonal fruits like Mangos, Lichi and Jackfruit.
- How You Move?
If you are in Kolkata, Metro Rail (tubes of London) is the best mode for making long distance travels. It can be crowded at times (generally during the office hours) but will save you from the sun. Outside Kolkata, you don’t have the facility of Metro and there you have to take buses. Try to avoid overcrowded ones as they can be exhausting. If you are ready to pay a little extra, always opt for cabs or taxis.
- What You Carry?
All your travel essentials + a bottle of water and sun protection creams. Wear good quality UV protected sunglasses because they keep the eyes cool. Drink plenty of water even if you are not really thirsty. Packaged water is easily available and you need not worry about its quality (even if the brand is not known to you)
- How You Cool off?
Take a cool shower whenever you can. Take at least two to three showers a day – that not only relax your mind and body from the extreme heat it also washes off the pollutants. Try to take hot water shower followed by cold water. The former will relax your muscles and the later will cool your body. Take short breaks in the shadow – it is obvious because when you are travelling you are sure to stop at regular intervals.
Summer is surely not the most suitable time for travelling to this part of the world but it is absolutely fine if you end up here. If you take few simple steps, you can beat the summer heat just like the locals and enjoy the sweetness of Bengal.